Does Your Follower Count Matter on Social Media?
As you grow your small business’s social media marketing, one of the most exciting metrics to watch is your follower count. Social media platforms place your follower count in a highly visible area of your profile so that not only you but everyone else on the platform can see how many followers you have. Across all the major social networks, your follower count (think Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, or Instagram followers) is the only metric that is consistently and publicly available—and it’s always displayed front-and-center on your profile.
Does that mean your follower count is the most important social media metric to measure? In most circumstances, the answer is no.
So if it’s not the most important metric, why do social media platforms promote follower count so much?
Social media taps right into human psychology and—although it’s too long to get into grave detail in this blog post—as your follower count grows, your brain releases dopamine endorphins which make you happy, which in turn brings you back to the app over and over again.
So if follower count is really just a mechanism by which social media companies trick you into using their platform, does that mean you shouldn’t care about your follower count at all? Still here, the answer is no.
Beyond social media companies wanting you to draw a connection between happiness endorphins and their platform, there is actual merit to using your follower count as a key performance indicator as long as you use it in tandem with other social media data.
At OG Media, we like using follower count as part of applause rate and engagement rate. Applause rate looks at the number of likes you got on a specific post versus the number of followers you have, while engagement rate looks at all of the types of engagement you got on a specific post (likes, comments, shares, link clicks, video views, etc.) and compares it to your follower count.
The four quadrants of engagement rate
Your engagement rate analysis can be broken into four quadrants: low followers, low engagement; high followers, low engagement; low followers, high engagement; and high followers, high engagement.
Your ultimate goal should be to have a high follower count with high engagement, however, that’s easier said than done.
If you had to give up your high follower count or your high engagement, which one makes the most sense for your business? In almost every situation we’ve come across, we’d rather have a smaller number of followers who actually engage with our content versus a large number of followers who don’t engage with our content at all.
Would you rather speak to a crowd of 1,000 people and have no one pay attention to you, or worse everyone pay attention but no one care…
Would you rather speak intimately to 5 people who are actively engaged and interested in what you’re talking about?
From a business perspective, more often than not, you want the latter. Not only are those five people potential customers, they’re also more likely to provide bottom-of-the-funnel referrals to your business because they’re showing a heightened level of investment by engaging with your social media posts.
How do I grow my follower count and engagement rate?
While some social media marketing agencies might claim follower count is a vanity metric, the truth is if your engagement is high and it continues to stay high as you grow your audience, your follower count can certainly have an impact on the success of your business and social media goals. After all, you need followers in order to be heard.
Additionally, a high follower count—especially if you have a good follower-following ratio—can be a sign to perspective followers that you either have good content or you’re a trustworthy source of information.
If you’re ready to grow your social media audience with engaging content, schedule a FREE 30-minute social media strategy meeting to learn how OG Media can help.